Norman Haddow's Story

Author: Norman Haddow
Norman Haddow's Story

Norman Haddow, a master dry stone waller, was inspired to apply for a Fellowship after hearing an archaeologist speak about the traditional shepherds’ huts across rural Slovenia that were falling into disrepair.

Norman's Fellowship enabled him to travel to Slovenia, where he mastered the traditional technique of corbelling, which involves the construction of arches or domes without the aid of wooden supports.

Not only was he able to play a role in the protection of an important part of Slovenia’s rural history, he was soon able to put his new skills to use when back in the UK.

In the summer of 2011 he was part of a group that rebuilt Tigh na Calliaech, an ancient stone shelter north of Loch Lyon. The construction is home to a ‘family’ of stones, which are taken from the shelter every spring and returned for the winter as part of a centuries-old ritual. Then the following year, Norman was involved in the construction of a limestone shepherd’s hut as part of an award-winning Slovenian garden at the Chelsea Flower show.

Norman was also a member of the team that constructed a replica of an ancient burial chamber known as a Tumulus in Lancaster. A very large corbelled structure, the tumulus is one of the few buildings in the UK built without an internal support constructed in the last few hundred years. 

Most recently, he helped create a replica of the Tgh na Calliaech shrine, to be set in a new garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. Designed by the poet Alec Findlay, the garden will commemorate those who have donated organs in Scotland in recent years, and will open to the public in Autumn 2014.

At 72, Norman was one of the oldest people to receive a Fellowship. He says, “It’s a wonderful opportunity and lovely to think, at my age, that I am still learning new things.”